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Poverty rate holds steady


UNDATED (WSAU)  Wisconsin’s poverty rate has held steady for the last two years. The U-S Census Bureau says about 13-percent of the state’s residents lived in poverty in 2011 – the same percentage as in 2010. Almost 726,000 Wisconsinites lived below the poverty line last year, including 237,000 children.

The poverty line is considered to be about $22,000 in annual income for a family-of-four.

Milwaukee remains one of the nation’s 10 most impoverished big cities. Almost three of every 10 city residents lives in poverty, about the same as the year before.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he sees no joy in the fact that poverty has not gotten worse than in 2010. Barrett said quote, “I want to see improvement. This is something we deal with on a daily basis.” Ken Taylor, head of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, said it’s imperative that lawmakers not cut federal programs to help lift poorer families above the poverty line.

Joe Volk, the C-E-O of Milwaukee’s Community Advocates, said his group saw a “slight uptick” this year in people asking for food-and-utility assistance. But he said the increase was far less than in the previous three years during the Great Recession. He said officials must not leave low-income people behind as the economic recovery moves forward.